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quality loss?!

post #1 of 8
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if i was to get a cable extender to plug into my sound card would i lose some quality by doing so?

I am looking at building a custom desk with my components in the desk similar to the water and wood build that is in the watercooling section. but i dont want to sue an extender if it will have a quality loss and make using a soundcard be about as good as onboard sound.

thanks for the info
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post #2 of 8
just buy extenders with gold plated plugs and your good.
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post #3 of 8
Gold has a lower speed of sound and electrical conductivity than copper, actually that's qualitatively worse, it just happens to resist corrosion more lol...
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrallite View Post

Gold has a lower speed of sound and electrical conductivity than copper, actually that's qualitatively worse, it just happens to resist corrosion more lol...

Not entirely correct. The speed of sound is measured based on the density of the medium the sound is travelling through. The denser the material, the faster sound travels. Which is why you can hear a train approaching from a distance much sooner by putting your ear on the track than if you were to trying to listen to the train from the sound waves travelling through the air.

That is because when sound travels through a medium, it is not just a wave that flies through that specific medium. The sound waves are passed on by the molecules in the medium. For example, the sound wave comes into contact with molecule 1. Molecule 1 then passes that sound onto molecule 2 and so on. In steel, there are a lot more molecules than in air, which is why sound is able to travel faster, as there are more molecules "processing" that wave.

As for gold vs copper in terms of speed of sound, gold is more dense than copper, so the speed of sound is actually faster in gold than in copper.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/density.html

However, it does not matter if it is gold or copper, as the point is to have gold-plated connectors. The wires inside the insulation are still going to be copper.

You are correct in the last part though, that gold resists corrosion more. That is because gold does not get oxidised. Oxidation is detrimental for audio components because when the surface gets affected by oxidation, you will actually have a loss of signal because the pins are not making contact with each other.

As for the OP, there will not be a loss of quality by using extenders, if the cable is decent enough. You might encounter some quality loss with some no-name Chinese cables. If you can, get cables with Neutrik connectors. Neutrik is the number one connector maker out there. They are meant for Pro Audio use, so you can be assured of the quality.
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post #5 of 8
And most cheap Chinese junk works 100% well anyway, just maybe not if you abuse it nonstop. I just wouldn't install the cheapest junk in the walls/ceiling where it takes effort to replace if something frays, or something like that. If there's a good connection (gold or not ) and the impedance of the cabling is negligible (which has to do with the width of the wire and the length, and the load at the other side...if it's a line in or powered speakers, all this is irrelevant), then it will be indistinguishably good.

So why is it we're talking about the speed of sound waves through different materials? What you're interested in is the electrical conductivity, since it's definitely sending electrical current down the wires and not sound waves. And all types of conductive materials and non-intentionally-bad cable constructions work perfectly well for transmitting audio frequencies in home setups.

There's no meaningful loss in quality that any human could discern by listening, except in very fringe cases. The big exception is if long and thin wire is used for wiring up passive speakers, as then the impedance of the cabling is no longer negligible.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

So why is it we're talking about the speed of sound waves through different materials?

Of course this has nothing to do with the OP, I was just explaining to astrallite that gold is actually more dense than copper, as said that the speed of sound is slower in gold, when it actual fact it is not. wink.gif
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floy View Post

Of course this has nothing to do with the OP, I was just explaining to astrallite that gold is actually more dense than copper, as said that the speed of sound is slower in gold, when it actual fact it is not. wink.gif

Speed of Sound
Gold: 2030m/s-1
Copper: 3810m/s-1

Electrical Conductivity:

Gold: 22.14 nΩ·m
Copper: 16.78 nΩ·m

Actually, copper's speed of sound does exceed gold's handily, and electrical conductivity is lower with gold as well. Although I will concede that speed of sound is actually irrelevant in this case since it's not the acoustical medium here and merely the electron highway, and so it was the wrong variable to introduce to the thread in the first place.
Edited by astrallite - 12/24/11 at 2:17pm
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post #8 of 8
Back on topic: No, unless the cable is broken.
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